When these Sharia courts opened in the U.K., British officials assured the public that wherever Sharia law conflicted with civil law, it would give way. But that almost immediately proved not to be the case, and here is further confirmation of the warnings we gave about these courts at the time: that they would become the legal system for a Muslim state within the state — one that would continue to grow and expand.
The Sharia court here is acting in accord with Islamic law:
“Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that God has preferred in bounty one of them over another, and for that they have expended of their property. Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding the secret for God’s guarding. And those you fear may be rebellious admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them.” (Qur’an 4:34)
Muhammad’s example is normative for Muslims, since he is an “excellent example of conduct” (Qur’an 33:21) — and according to a canonical hadith, Muhammad’s favorite wife, his child bride Aisha, reports that Muhammad struck her. Once he went out at night after he thought she was asleep, and she followed him surreptitiously. Muhammad saw her, and, as Aisha recounts: “He struck me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you?” (Sahih Muslim 2127) Aisha herself said it: “I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women.” (Sahih Bukhari 7.72.715)
The Koran commentary Ruhul Ma”ani reflects mainstream Muslim understandings of this verse when it gives four reasons that a man may beat his wife: “if she refuses to beautify herself for him,” if she refuses sex when he asks for it, if she refuses to pray or perform ritual ablutions, and “if she goes out of the house without a valid excuse.”
“Sharia court tells ‘abused wife’ to stay,” by James Fielding for the Express, April 7:
Dr Suhaib Hasan told the undercover reporter that she should only contact police “as a last resort”, but she would be forced to leave her marital home if she did so.
The shocking exchange, filmed by the BBC”s Panorama programme for a special report into Sharia courts, has infuriated equal rights campaigners.
Baroness Cox is trying to take Âforward a private members” Bill in the House of Lords to make it an offence for Sharia councils to set themselves up as courts.
She said: “It is a system which, in its gender discrimination causing women such suffering, is utterly incompatible with our country”s Âvalues. It is time to draw a line in the sand and say “˜enough is enough”.”
The programme, to be screened tomorrow night, highlights the problems faced by Muslim women who are pressured to stay in abusive marriages. Posing as a woman seeking a divorce from her violent husband, the reporter consults Dr Hasan of the Leyton Islamic Sharia council in east London.
His first response is to ask if she has done anything to provoke her treatment.
He asks her: “I think that you should be courageous enough to ask this question to him. Just tell me why you are so upset, huh? Is it because of my cooking? Is it because I see my friends, huh? So I can Âcorrect myself.”
The reporter asks if she should report the violence to the police but is warned: “You involve the police if he hits you but you must understand this will be the final blow.
“You will have to leave the house. Where will you go then? A refuge? A refuge is a very bad option. Women are not happy in such places.”
Dr Hasan goes on to suggest counselling, adding: “Don’t think about the police because if the police is involved then think, your family life is going to break.” Leyton Sharia council handles 50 cases a month, mainly marital disputes brought by Muslim women. For many couples a Sharia divorce is the only option because they have a Sharia marriage not a British civil one.
Dr Hasan told the BBC: “We try to facilitate for the Muslim community something which they badly need because there’s no other institution [which] can provide such services so we are providing it.
“We are not just here to issue divorces. We want to mediate first.”
However, Chief Crown Prosecutor for the North West Nazir Afzal, who tackles domestic and honour-based violence for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “What I”ve witnessed is so dangerous because if there is early intervention we know people’s lives can be saved.”
There are thought to be at least 85 Sharia councils in Britain.
Family Law barrister Charlotte Proudman, who has attended many Sharia hearings, said: “There’s no accountability and many of them are not operating in accordance with UK law.”
What a surprise.